woman visiting doctor after pedestrian accident

If I’m a Pedestrian, Who Pays for My Medical Bills After I Was Hit by a Car in New Jersey?

By Greg Kohn

Being hit by a car as a pedestrian can lead to severe injuries. Serious injuries can lead to extensive medical bills. If you’ve been hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian, you may wonder who pays for your medical bills. The answer is it depends. Our New Jersey pedestrian accident attorney can assist you with evaluating and pursuing your claim against the appropriate insurance option.

Pedestrian Injuries in New Jersey

Unfortunately, pedestrian injuries regularly occur in New Jersey. A recent report found that between 2020-2022, there were approximately 259 pedestrian fatalities. Accidents that did not result in deaths are likely much higher. Because a pedestrian is less protected than someone in a vehicle, any injuries they may suffer are often significant. One of the consequences of this is that the financial, emotional, and physical costs of their injury can be greater than in other accidents. 

So, who covers these increased medical expenses? The answer may be your car insurance policy because New Jersey is a “no-fault” jurisdiction. The term “no-fault” refers to the policy that regardless of who caused the car accident, an injured person’s car insurance policy will pay up to a certain dollar amount for their medical expenses. 

How Your Insurance Policy Comes Into Play 

Because New Jersey has a no-fault system, anyone with auto insurance has some degree of coverage if they are involved in an accident. New Jersey residents can either choose a less expensive no-fault option with only a limited right to sue or a more expensive option with full rights to personal injury compensation.

A basic policy has $5,000 in property damage coverage and $15,000 in personal injury protection per person, per accident. If you have to file a claim with your insurer and you have a basic policy, you can recover medical expenses and income losses up to the policy’s limits. However, you cannot recover compensation for pain and suffering or other non-economic losses unless certain exceptions apply.

If you have a standard policy, which is the more expensive option, you have more coverage. Bodily injury coverage starts at $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. You will also have some degree of additional personal injury coverage depending on whether you have a “limited” or “unlimited” right to sue option. So, you may be able to recover for non-economic losses or pain and suffering, depending on your level of coverage.

Other Available Insurance Options

What happens, for example, if the pedestrian does not have insurance? The pedestrian may still be covered under other insurance policies, such as household policies carried by a parent. If he or she does not have their own auto policy and is not covered by any other policy, then the negligent driver’s personal injury protection coverage would be the following insurance policy that would apply. 

There are some scenarios in which your or the other driver’s auto insurance may not apply. For example, if you are hit as a pedestrian while you are working, workers’ compensation rules would apply, and your employer’s insurance may be the right policy under which to pursue a claim.

Speak With an Attorney

The options available to you are highly fact-specific and can be confusing. If you have been injured as a pedestrian by a vehicle, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. You have two years to sue on a claim, with some exceptions. For legal help with your case contact our office today, we offer a free consultation.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.